We have previously discussed the new skills that you need to convey while you are being interviewed. Let’s now shift the focus from your external approach to your internal approach. We have all heard a great deal about mindset, and that you need to be in the proper mindset before having an interview. You should be positive, somewhat open; but most importantly, focused during the interview process. I want to talk about the most important question you should be asking yourself throughout and concluding the interview process.
What Not To Ask
I am sure you are attempting to pinpoint what the most important question concluding an interview is. You are probably inclined to know the answer as well. Most people would think that they should be asking themselves:
“Is this a firm I want to work with?”
“Is this a firm I want to move to?”
“Is this the firm I potentially want to retire from?”
I truly believe these are the worst questions you could ask yourself at any interview. Why? This most likely is the first interview with this firm, and you certainly do not know enough to be able to make that decision. You have not done your due diligence. If you have, it’s been cursory at the most. Usually consisting of reviewing their website, possibly they’re past deal list on EMMA, and maybe even talking to a few people that may know the firm and/or the hiring manager well. All of these are great things to do during the pre-interview process. However, you’re at the end of your phone or zoom conference call, and now it is time to truly evaluate what is going on by asking yourself the most important question concluding an interview.
What Is This Most Important Question Concluding An Interview?
It’s simply asking yourself if you want to learn more. That is it. It’s not, “Do you want to go to this firm?” Instead it’s asking, “Do you want to learn more about this position and/or company?”
Why do I say that this is the most important question concluding an interview? First and foremost, it is simple. It’s a yes or no answer. If the answer is yes, we clearly set up a second interview. If the answer is no, we politely withdraw your candidacy. This question is extremely valuable as compared to what most people would think (“Do I want to move to the firm/bank?”). Why? The reason is due to the fact it is such a simple, non-threatening, requiring a “knee jerk” response to the question. In this case, that is the best result you can ask for as you will be open minded during the interview process. You will ask much deeper and thoughtful questions since you will not be so much as in a “selling mode”. You are in a listening and evaluating mode, knowing that you will have to answer the question if you want to learn more, and that’s it!
It Works Because…
The simplicity of the question is its strength. By applying this important question concluding an interview, you will be in a better position to evaluate the last 30 to 45 minutes of conversation. This is where a deep gut reaction should be listened to. Do not let anybody, including a recruiter or a friend, change your position. It is your first interview with the firm, and your gut reaction should weigh heavily. It has been my experience that when candidates respond affirmatively to this question (they want to learn more), they tend to go all the way through to completion. As most candidates are very aware of wasting their time and/or the company’s time and money by prolonging a situation that does not feel right.
About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.